American Playhouse (1981– )
7.2/10
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The Killing Floor 

During World War I, a poor black Southerner travels north to Chicago to get work in the city's slaughterhouses, where he becomes embroiled in the organized labor movement. He becomes ... See full summary »

Director:

Bill Duke

Writers:

Leslie Lee, Ron Milner (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Damien Leake ... Frank Custer
Alfre Woodard ... Mattie
Dennis Farina ... Supervisor
Ernest Rayford Ernest Rayford ... Thomas Joshua
Moses Gunn ... Heavy Williams
Clarence Felder ... Bremer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mary Alice Smith Mary Alice Smith ... Lilah Dean
Cynthia Baker Cynthia Baker ... Emma
Gerry Becker ... Meyer
Nathan Davis Nathan Davis ... Judge Alschuler
Henryk Derewenda Henryk Derewenda ... John Kikulski
Phillip East Phillip East ... Joe Hodges
Paul Eaton Paul Eaton ... John Spriggs
Jason Green Jason Green ... Frank Custer Jr.
Stephen Henderson Stephen Henderson ... James Cheeks
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Storyline

During World War I, a poor black Southerner travels north to Chicago to get work in the city's slaughterhouses, where he becomes embroiled in the organized labor movement. He becomes prominent as a leader of fellow African-Americans in the union, though many, including his best friend, view him as a sell-out. Written by Karl Williams

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 April 1984 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Useful for those studying the black migration during WWI, the race riots in Chicago and the labor movement

Summary: Black workers from the South migrate North during WWI to look for jobs left vacant by people going off to war. They were often relegated to the most undesirable jobs and faced some prejudice. Some of them join the local labor unions and find themselves being paid substantially more than they would have if they had stayed in the South. After the war ends, the labor union loses influence as there are men who want their jobs back that these workers filled. We see employers using race to try to break up the union and there are accurate depictions of the Chicago race riots that occurred in 1919. There were massive strikewaves after WWI when many workers were laid off or had their wages cut. This film is useful to anyone interested in the labor movement.


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